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Name: In re Raymond E.
Case #: C039302
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/10/2002
Subsequent History: Rev. denied 6/12/02
Summary

Four-year-old Raymond and his 11 year-old-brother were removed from their parents’ home and placed in separate foster homes, though arrangements were made for visits between them. The effect of Raymond’s bond with his brother on adoption was not raised in the trial court at the parental termination hearing on August 31, 2001. Effective January 1, 2002, the Legislature amended Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.26, subdivision (c)(1) to provide an additional exception to the termination of parental rights where “there would be substantial interference with a child’s sibling relationship . . . and . . . ongoing contact is in the child’s best interest, including the child’s long-term emotional interest, as compared to the benefit of legal permanence through adoption.” (Welf. & Inst. Code, §366.26, subd. (c)(1)(E).) In supplemental briefing the parents asserted that remand was required for the trial court to consider the impact of the new exception to termination. The Court of Appeal, affirming the trial court finding that termination was in Raymond’s best interest and holding that the issue of his sibling relationship had been waived, also held that the sibling-relationship amendment was not meant to be applied retroactively because it was not accompanied by an express declaration of retroactivity.